Colorado Country Life July 2020 Poudre Valley

Page 1

JULY 2020









Colorado’s small businesses need your support now more than ever. Colorado’s electric cooperatives support local businesses in their communities. One way they are doing that is focusing on the many small Colorado businesses that have been featured on the Discoveries page of this magazine and other similar businesses just trying to make it during this difficult time. Visit to see the wonderful list of Colorado small businesses needing your support.



SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES BUY GIFTS CARDS TO USE LATER Purchase online or over the phone. SHOP ONLINE Many local businesses offer online shopping. Visit their website to make a digital purchase and get their product delivered to your home. CONNECT ALTERNATIVELY Follow your favorite Colorado businesses on social media, websites and digital newsletters. See if they are offering ways to connect such as pick-up or home delivery. BUY NOW, PICK UP LATER Give the business a call, pay for a product, set it aside to pickup later. HELP GROW SUPPORT Give a business a shout-out on social media. Leave it a review. Like, share and post on social media; the extra virtual love is appreciated. Be sure to tag your posts using #CoOpsSupportCO

Number 07

Volume 51

July 2020 THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE COLORADO RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION COMMUNICATIONS STAFF Mona Neeley, CCC, Publisher/Editor Cassi Gloe, CCC, Production Manager/Designer Kylee Coleman, Editorial/Admin. Assistant ADVERTISING Kris Wendtland, Ad Representative | 303-902-7276 National Advertising Representative, American MainStreet Publications 611 S. Congress Street, Suite 504, Austin, TX 78704 | 800-626-1181 Advertising Standards: Publication of an advertisement in Colorado Country Life does not imply endorsement by any Colorado rural electric cooperative or the Colorado Rural Electric Association. Colorado Country Life (USPS 469-400/ISSN 1090-2503) is published monthly by Colorado Rural Electric Association, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216-1731. Periodical postage paid at Denver, Colorado. ©Copyright 2020, Colorado Rural Electric Association. Call for reprint rights. EDITORIAL Denver Corporate Office, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216 | 303-455-4111 | | | Editorial opinions published in Colorado Country Life magazine shall pertain to issues affecting rural electric cooperatives, rural communities and citizens. The opinion of CREA is not necessarily that of any particular cooperative or individual. SUBSCRIBERS Report change of address to your local cooperative. Do not send change of address to Colorado Country Life. Cost of subscription for members of participating electric cooperatives is $4.44 per year (37 cents per month), paid from equity accruing to the member. For nonmembers, a subscription is $9 per year in-state/$15 out-of-state.












On the




FACEBOOK CHATTER Colorado Rural Electric Association posted: Colorado YouTubers are bringing fun to the small screen. See it all at via Colorado Country Life

Monthly Contest Enter for your chance to win a T-shirt designed by Colorado Caliber. Five winners will receive a T-shirt of their choice. To view shirt design options, visit For official rules and how to enter, visit our contest page at

COCountryLife pinned: If you’re looking for a great summer treat, try Brown Butter No Churn Ice Cream. Get the recipe at


Social distancing isn’t a problem outdoors and overland adventures are one way to do that. Photo by Carl Zoch Photography, courtesy of Colorado Overlander.



POSTMASTER Send address changes to Colorado Country Life, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216

JULY 2020

“Nature’s Fireworks” by Anthony Botelho, a member of San Isabel Electric Association.

INSTAGRAM PIC of the month colorado_electric_cooperatives posted: Welcome Jesse Peeler, CREA’s newest employee. He’ll be helping #coloradoselectriccoops stay safe as a member of the safety and loss control team. #itstartswithpower #ruralelectric COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JULY 2020







oudre Valley REA is here for you, and given the challenging times we’ve all experienced the last few months, I’d

thermostat to adjust the settings so that your heating and air conditioning systems sync with the off-peak rate periods. Use automatic

like to share some information and ideas to help you save energy and money. Summer is a great time to conduct an energy audit of your home and identify ways to boost energy efficiency. Understanding how your home uses energy can help you determine the best ways to modify energy use and keep more money in your wallet. An energy audit is one of the best ways to determine how energy efficient your home is––an audit can also identify areas for potential energy savings. We offer an online Home Energy Advisor Tool to see exactly where your dollars are going on your energy bill. Visit for more information. Once you have completed a profile of your home you will be able to learn how to save money in various areas. You can also schedule a personal review of your home’s profile by contacting our Energy Resources staff at 1-800-432-1012. Shifting to off-peak periods Electric rates based on time of use offer co-op members the ability to lower their electricity costs without reducing the amount of electricity used. By performing some of your daily chores such as running the dishwasher or doing laundry during off-peak hours (when people are using less electricity), you can see meaningful savings on your energy bills. Call our office to sign up for Timeof-Use billing, then use your programmable

timers to run hot tubs, pool pumps, water heaters and other appliances in the same way. Be sure to program the timers to avoid the more expensive on-peak times of 4 pm to 10 pm Monday through Saturday. Putting power in your hands Our Pay As You Go prepaid metering is intended to aide in budgeting your monthly energy costs. PVREA members can pay for electricity before it is used, then use the electricity until the credit expires. During the time period you’ve paid for, you will receive regular feedback on your balance. Industry studies show that consumers who participate in prepaid metering plans use up to 10% less electricity. Learn more about this offering at Rebates Lastly, if you have recently purchased a new ENERGY STAR®-rated appliance or product, make sure you are taking advantage of rebates that are available. Learn more about money back on appliances, heating & cooling, lighting, outdoor power equipment, EV chargers and more at rebates. As your trusted energy advisor, we’re here to help. If you have questions about your bill or additional ways to save energy, please let us know. We’re only one click or phone call away. Have a safe and joyful 4th of July!



Read more about PVREA on pages 7-10.

PVREA serves electricity to 45,000 homes and businesses in Boulder, Larimer, and Weld Counties. We are a member-owned co-op, led by those we serve.

OUR MISSION We are committed to providing safe, reliable, efficient energy solutions with exceptional service to our members.




Poudre Valley REA PO Box 272550 Fort Collins, CO 80527

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chair Steven Anderson Larimer County

Director Thaine Michie Larimer County

Vice Chair Rick Johnson Larimer County

Director Jan Peterson Larimer County

Secretary James Fender Larimer County

Director Jack Schneider Weld County

Director Bryan Ehrlich Larimer County

Director Ronald Sutherland Boulder County

Director Peter Hyland Weld County





Missing summers when the kids were young BY MONA NEELEY



t’s July and I’m a little MONA NEELEY nostalgic. For years, July meant camp with my kids — East India Heritage Camp. My husband and I adopted our kids from Kolkata, India, and each July throughout their school years we would join other families with kids from India at Snow Mountain Ranch, the YMCA camp in the Rockies between Fraser and Granby. For four days, my kids were immersed in their birth culture. They heard Indian folk tales, learned Indian dances and traditions, and smelled Indian food being prepared (which was mostly eaten by parents as the kids all preferred the hot dogs). And while the kids absorbed all things Indian and made new friends, we as parents also learned and shared and enjoyed watching our kids bloom as they were surrounded by others with their same ethnic background. It was a special time each summer when we celebrated the unique family that we are. Mona Neeley is the statewide editor of Colorado Country Life, which is published in coordination with your local electric cooperative. Its goal is to provide information from your local electric co-op to you, its consumer-members.



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For the Love of (Carousel) Horses

We thoroughly enjoyed the article on Colorado carousels (May ’20). We bought a C.W. Parker horse at an estate sale in 2001 and restored it in 2012 (photo above). We did a lot of research and discovered we did, in fact, have a C.W. Parker horse because there was one original shoe that had his name on it. We also visited the C.W. Parker Museum in Leavenworth, Kansas. William and Ellen Ritter, Berthoud Poudre Valley REA consumer-members I have a personal connection to the Burlington carousel. About seven years ago, when I was head of project development for juwi Wind, my team developed a wind farm near Burlington that we named The Carousel Wind Farm to honor the wonderful carousel in that community. The electricity from Carousel is sold to (co-op power supplier) Tri-State Generation and Transmission. (NextEra Energy Resources bought the project and renamed it Carousel Wind Energy Center. It still produces clean renewable energy for Tri-State and keeps the connection with the community.) Eric Simons, Buena Vista Sangre de Cristo Electric consumer-member



331 E. Main, Buena Vista, CO.


SEND US YOUR LETTERS Editor Mona Neeley, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 or mneeley@ Include name and address. Letters may be edited for length. COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JULY 2020



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s you search for ways to cut costs, your energy use might provide some potential opportunities for savings. Even if your home is extremely similar to another’s, you may find your energy bills are much higher. This may come as a surprise, but you could have a hidden energy hog eating away at your bank account. These energy hogs that may be increasing your energy use include:


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That second refrigerator or freezer may be costing more than you think. If the model was produced prior to 1990, it’s likely using twice as much energy — or more — than a newer EnergyStar®-rated model. If it’s located in the garage, it may run constantly in the summer, which could lead to higher electric bills.

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Cooling or heating an uninsulated area Cooling or heating an uninsulated workshop or garage can be expensive. To give you an example, during a past energy audit, it was discovered that the homeowner heated an uninsulated shed to keep several halfempty buckets of paint from freezing — he was paying more to keep his paint warm than the paint was even worth. Pet owners have been known to heat and cool an uninsulated garage to keep pets comfortable, not realizing that it might be costing more than heating their actual home. If you really want to heat or cool these types of spaces, they need to be well-insulated and efficiently heated and cooled, perhaps with a ductless mini split system.

Heating and cooling an uninsulated shed, garage or workspace can increase energy bills.

Pumps If you live on acreage or on a farm, you probably have several pumps, including irrigation, well, septic and sump. If you’re like most of us, you use those pumps until they break down. Consider replacing the oldest and most-used pumps over time with new, more efficient ones that are sized correctly for their task. Also, make sure you’re eliminating leaks in the water lines, which make pumps work harder and longer. If one of these three energy hogs doesn’t explain the difference in energy use between your home and a comparable one, there are many other possibilities. If this is the case, contact your electric cooperative to learn how to get a professional energy assessment, which should give you the answers you seek. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency.


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Scholarship Award Night Goes Virtual


n June 10, 2020, PVREA celebrated with students who won scholarships and their families- Zoom style. “We have been hosting an in-person scholarship award night for a few years and didn’t want to miss out on honoring the students who worked hard to earn scholarships this year. Thanks to modern day technology, we were able to gather and give the students the credit they deserve,” said Communications Specialist Jessica Johnson.

Normally the scholarship award night consists of dinner before the presentation. This year each of the students received a gift card from PVREA to a local restaurant. After President & CEO Jeff Wadsworth spoke about the co-op, each of the students had an opportunity to introduce themselves to the group and explain why they chose their next steps of continuing education. Congratulations to all the scholarship winners and we wish you success in your futures!

Sign Up for Outage Alerts


embers can get alerts via text or email about power outages, plus other account alerts (such as when your bill is available) through PVREA’s free app. Setting up your alerts is easy and only takes a few minutes. If you don’t have the app, download it today.

In the App

On the Web

1. Click on the Settings icon.

1. Sign in to your online account at

2. Click on “Manage Notifications” under the Notifications section.

2. Click on Notifications in the menu.

3. Click on the Service tab.

3. Click on Manage Notifications.

4. Choose which cell phone and/or email address you would like to receive the notifications for all of the alert types. If you have no contacts listed, you can add contacts under Manage Contacts.

4. Click on the Service tab. 5. Choose which cell phone and/or email address you would like to receive the notifications for all of the alert types. If you have no contacts listed, you can add contacts under Manage Contacts. COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JULY 2020



PVREA’s Summer Projects


VREA continually works through a construction work plan to maintain equipment and help prevent future outages. You may see us in your neighborhood throughout the year for these various projects. Up-to-date information on construction projects is posted online at, and members are notified by mail when we are working in your area.

Line Upgrades and Maintenance Throughout the year we work on various projects to upgrade lines, and replace equipment. You may also see a PVREA crew or contractor working on our equipment poles utilizing a bucket truck or other utility truck. Drone Inspections PVREA utilizes drones to inspect poles, equipment, wires, transformers, and insulators. This bird’s-eye view is very valuable to the co-op as details are found that were not visible from the ground-up. You may see a drone flying over a power line near or on your property. We will only operate in our right-of-way. Grid Communication Improvement Construction is underway to install fiber on existing powerlines. Fiber will increase reliability of our electric grid with better communications, and may attract and open the door for third-party broadband providers to come into our area and provide internet service. Learn more at Pole Inspections & Replacements PVREA routinely inspects all poles to make sure they are safe and

PVREA’s Summer BBQ Parties Will Resume Next Year

still in good condition. You may see PVREA’s contractors walking on foot or using an ATV in our right-of-way to access poles. If the pole needs replacing, we place a flag on the pole and later return to replace the pole. Tree Trimming Maintaining right-of-way clearances is necessary to provide safe and reliable service, as well as prevent fires. PVREA utilizes our own tree trimming crew and contractor crews to clear trees and brush at least 10 feet away from power lines. We trim trees in our entire service territory on a three-year rotation. PVREA tree trimming crews and our contractors utilize a bucket truck or walk on foot to trim trees near power lines. We only operate in our right-of-way. If we do not have proper access, we will work with members to gain access.

July 2020

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month


ne of the co-op’s favorite events is the summer BBQ parties we typically hold in the summer or early fall. Due to uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and how large group events can be held, PVREA has decided to not hold a summer BBQ this year and will resume next year. We appreciate members’ understanding, and will plan an event in 2021.



Spending more time at home? Try an online energy audit to assess the overall efficiency of your home. Visit to start a personalized assessment of your home.


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Help Our Environment and Earn Money with Power Peak Rewards We all want to do our part as consumers and as a utility to help our environment be cleaner, and greener. One of the ways we can help achieve our goals is by using smart thermostat programs, like PVREA’s Power Peak Rewards. PVREA wants to help you save energy, and lower demand during energy “power peak” hours, like those hot summer afternoons when everyone’s cranking up the air conditioning. We can use a Nest or Ecobee thermostat to do it. When we call a peak day, Nest or Ecobee will send a signal to your thermostat and precool your home, so your AC doesn’t run as hard during the peak hours. Simply enroll your Ecobee or Nest through the smart thermostat’s app, and we’ll reward you with a one-time enrollment reward of $50. At the end of the cooling season, typically in November, you’ll receive a $30 reward. Every year you stay enrolled, you receive the $30 reward. It’s that easy.

Enroll Today 1. You can start with your Nest or Ecobee if you already have one. If you don’t, you can purchase one at any retailer or buy a Nest thermostat through PVREA’s online storefront and get a co-op member discount. 2. Sign up through your smart thermostat’s app. Look for “Rush Hour Rewards” in the Nest app, or “eco+” in Ecobee’s app. 3. Find your enrollment bonus on your electric bill. 4. At the end of the cooling season, you’ll get another reward on your electric bill. COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JULY 2020



Act Fast! Bonus Rebates Available for Heat Pumps


ne of the best ways to save energy and money on your electric bill is by efficiently heating and cooling your home. One way to efficiently heat and cool your home is with a heat pump system. PVREA offers rebates on new heat pump systems, and in 2020 PVREA has a limited amount of additional bonus rebate incentives for a member who has a heat pump unit installed in their home. PVREA heat pump rebates will likely cover a significant amount of the cost of a heat pump. Additional rebate information and eligibility requirements are listed online at Be sure to use a contractor from PVREA’s Select-HVAC contractor list. Act fast - the 2020 Bonus Incentives are first come, first serve. For questions about heat pumps, rebates, and energy programs, contact the Energy Resources department at 1-800-432-1012.

Other Co-op Member Rebates Energy Star Electric Appliances • • • • • • • •

Full-size refrigerators - $30 Full-size freezers - $30 Refrigerator & freezer recycling - $90/unit Front-load clothes washers - $40 Top-load clothes washers - $30 Clothes dryers - $30 Hybrid heat pump (ventless) dryers - $90 Dishwashers - $20

Residential LED Lighting • Up to $8 per bulb

EV Chargers • Up to $500

Heating & Cooling • Electric Water Heaters - $30 • Heat Pump Water Heaters - Up to $350 • Electric Air Source Heat Pumps - Up to $750/ton • Electric Ground Source Heat Pumps - Up to $500/ton • Energy Star Air Conditioners - Up to a $150 rebate

Outdoor Electric Equipment • Electric mowers and snow blowers - Up to $100 • Electric trimmers, chainsaws, pruners, and blowers - Up to $50

For the Farm & Business • Irrigation Motors - Up to $4,000 • Variable Speed & Frequency Drives - Up to $6,800

Commercial Lighting • Up to $20,000




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Dip in and celebrate National Ice Cream Month BY AMY HIGGINS


Cool off this summer with some delicious ice cream.


hen the temperature dials up, we look for good ways to chill. And, seeing as July is National Ice Cream Month, cooling off with a scoop of ice-cold sweetness just seems blissfully sensible. Land O’Lakes®, the familiar dairy cooperative, has oodles of options for homemade ice cream goodies and Colorado Country Life couldn’t wait to share a few. While you likely have a favorite pint you like to frequent, why not ready your freezer and try something new with one of these frozen treats? After all … it’s a holiday! All recipes courtesy of Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Ice Cream Celebration Cake 4 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened 1  1/3 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup Land O’Lakes® butter, softened 2 large Land O’Lakes® eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon almond extract 2/3 cup whole milk 3 tablespoons rainbow jimmy sprinkles 1  1/2 cups Land O’Lakes® heavy whipping cream 1/3 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Maraschino cherries Additional sprinkles, if desired Line 8-inch round cake pan with plastic food wrap. Evenly spread softened ice cream into prepared pan. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

QUICK TIP / FIT FOR THE FOURTH To make this a little more patriotic to celebrate the Fourth of July the usual rainbow sprinkles can be swapped for a red, white and blue variety in both the cake and to decorate the whipped cream. Use food-grade sparklers on top for some extra pizazz. Be sure to use food-grade sparklers — regular ones will leave a residue on the whipped cream that is not safe to eat.



Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 8-inch round baking pan. Set aside. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl. Set aside. Beat sugar and butter in another bowl at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and almond extract; mix well. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating at low speed after each addition, just until mixed. Gently stir in sprinkles. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 29 to 34 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.


16 Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Rounds (see recipe below) 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1/4 cup milk 2 (1.84- to 2.05-ounce) chocolate-covered caramel and nougat candy bars, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts 4 cups vanilla ice cream

Prepare Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Rounds as directed. Combine chocolate chips, milk and candy bars in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 8 to 12 minutes or until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in peanuts. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until thickened. Line cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Place all cookies, bottom-side up, onto cookie sheet. Spread about 1 tablespoon cooled chocolate mixture onto bottom-side of each cookie. Refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwiches. Chill separate baking sheet 5 minutes in freezer. Scoop eight (about 1/4 cup) ice cream portions onto chilled baking sheet. Return to freezer; freeze until ready to assemble sandwiches. Thaw ice cream portions 4 to 5 minutes at room temperature. Place 1 portion onto bottom-side of 1 cookie; top with another cookie, bottom-side down. Press cookies together gently. Smooth ice cream with knife, if necessary. Place onto baking sheet; freeze immediately, at least 2 hours or until set. Wrap each frozen ice cream sandwich in plastic food wrap; place into large resealable freezer bag. Store frozen.

Chunky Cherry Pecan Ice Cream 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon Land O’Lakes® butter 3 cups Land O’Lakes® fat free half & half 1  1/2 cups sour cream 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup cherry preserves 1 tablespoon vanilla 1 cup* pitted quartered dark sweet cherries

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Rounds

*Substitute 1 (16.5-ounce) can sour cherries, drained, chopped

1 cup Land O’Lakes® butter, softened

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large Land O’Lakes® egg

1 cup mini real semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine pecans, 1/4 cup sugar and butter in heavy saucepan or skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes or until sugar turns golden. Pour onto heavy-duty aluminum foil. Cool completely. Break into pieces. Combine half & half, sour cream, 1 cup sugar, cherry preserves and vanilla in bowl; stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in pecans pieces and cherries. Pour into ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

3 cups all-purpose flour Combine butter and sugar in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed. Add flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide dough in half; shape each half into 8-inch log. Combine sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Spread sugar mixture onto waxed paper. Roll each log in sugar mixture until outside is well-coated; wrap each in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch slices using sharp knife. Place 1-inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack.

Place onto cooling rack; cool 10 minutes. Loosen cake by running knife around inside edge of pan. Carefully remove cake from pan; cool completely. Evenly cut cake into 2 layers. Place bottom cut layer onto serving plate. Top with ice cream disk and top cake layer, placing cut side onto ice cream, domed top up. Before serving place whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in bowl. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Scoop and swirl on top of cake. Add additional sprinkles and top with food-grade sparkler, if desired. Serve each piece with a maraschino cherry.

Photo courtesy of Land O’Lakes, Inc. Note: These recipes have not been adjusted for higher elevations. For high-altitude baking suggestions, visit tinyurl. com/CO-Extension-HA-Baking or COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE

JULY 2020



Electricity to Benefit our Future


lectricity has its benefits for everyone. Is that what is meant by “beneficial electrification?” Not exactly. Beneficial electrification is, specifically, using electricity to power devices where to do so means either saving money, benefiting the environment, improving the quality of life and/or supporting a more resilient electrical grid. The C olorado Rura l E le c t r ic Association, the statewide trade

Consumers are Happy with Co-ops Electric cooperative consumermembers appreciate the cooperative difference, according to the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. ACSI is one of the most recognized customer satisfaction indices in the United States and the nation’s electric cooperatives, through Touchstone Energy, have utilized ACSI since 2004. The most recent survey shows electric co-ops outpacing others in the utility industry with high levels of consumer satisfaction across all age groups. Co-ops scored an 88 out of 100 with those 75 and older; an 85 with those 65-74; an 82 with those 55-64 and 18-24; a 79 with those 45-54; a 78 with those 25-34 and a 76 with those 35-44.



association for Colorado’s electric cooperatives, is promoting beneficial electrification as part of the Colorado chapter of the Beneficial Electrification L e a g u e . C o - op p ow e r s upp l i e r Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Colorado Energy Office and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project also are members of the Colorado organization. Recent research suggests that, with

more renewable generation on the electric grid and improvements in energy efficiency, electrifying large parts of the economy has become a good thing for the economy and the environment, and that is what the league promotes. In practical terms, this means it is beneficial for consumers to replace older, inefficient gas and propane furnaces and water heaters with more efficient electric heat pump technology. It is also becoming beneficial to transition to electric vehicles and school buses. In other areas, it is beneficial to switch old diesel industrial equipment for new electric products. And, as part of the co-ops’ “commitment to community” principle and the proven benefits, electric co-ops are working with their consumer-members on beneficial electrification strategies that will enhance their community’s quality of life while making lower electric bills possible.

1/3 Page (4.625” x 4.875”)

Cooperatives Hit High Point of 58% Renewables At one point in early May, electric co-op power supplier Tri-State Generation and Transmission supplied 58% renewable energy to its members. It was a sunny May 4 and Tri-State averaged 46% renewable energy for its members for the day, peaking at 58%. Then again, on May 7, Tri-State averaged 47% renewable energy for its members with a peak of 55%. The power supplier’s goal is to provide 50% renewable energy for its members year-round by 2024. It is adding an additional 1,000 megawatts of wind and solar to its system to accomplish this goal.



The cost of powering your home rises slowly when compared to other common expenses. Looking at price increases over the last five years, it’s easy to see electricity remains a good value!

Average Annual Price Increase 2014-2019 Percent







2.5 2.0


1.5 1.0 0.5 0


Medical Care



Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

Renewable Energy Beats Coal Use Renewable resources beat coal consumption for the first time in 2019 in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The use of coal for electricity generation continues to slide as the amount of wind and solar power grows. According to a story in the Daily Energy Insider, coal consumption in the United States dropped by nearly 15% in 2019 compared to the previous year. Renewable energy grew by 1%. This was the sixth consecutive year that coal use decreased, dropping to 11.3 quadrillion Btu, the lowest level since 1964. At the same time, renewable energy consumption grew for the fourth year in a row to a record high 11.5 quadrillion Btu.

LOST REVENUE HITS COOPERATIVES AS NATION RECOVERS FROM COVID-19 Businesses and individuals alike have struggled to keep up with their bills as the effects of the national shutdown caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic are felt. People have lost jobs, some businesses have closed. Economic growth has dropped. All of that is affecting Colorado’s electric cooperatives and their bottom line. Many co-ops contributed to local charities to assist their consumer-members during this time. And they have worked with their consumer-members who are having trouble paying their bills due to the pandemic. That means less cash flow for the electric co-op. Nationally, the country’s electric co-ops are projected to lose up to $10 billion in

revenue through the end of next year. This loss of revenue is because of an expected 5% drop in electricity sales due to lower U.S. economic output and an increase in unpaid electric bills due to unemployment. Electric co-ops are working together to meet this challenge, working with their national trade association to establish possible safety nets for rural communities and their co-ops. They are taking steps to prevent any significant disruptions in service to their local communities. At the same time, they are working with federal assistance programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to assist their consumer-members as they also face a loss of income. COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JULY 2020




BY EUGENE BUCHANAN Photo courtesy of Last Line of Defense.


ust after Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-athome order lifted, Pat Drake and his family — including wife Isabel and kids Olivia, Cruz and Catalina — fired up their Toyota TRD Pro 4x4 and set off for a secret spot in the desert they call Glade Park somewhere near Colorado National Monument. Following weeks of self-isolating, this isolation — soaking up some sun, exploring rock formations, chasing lizards and gawking at the Milky Way



galaxy around a crackling campfire — was a little more soulful. After a winter of ski patrolling at Snowmass and a month of keeping the kids from bouncing off the walls, the desert “glamping” was a muchneeded reprieve. And it was easier than ever for Drake thanks to the burgeoning craze of “overlanding” — going in style with all the creature comforts of home in a rig that can get you off the beaten track and back.

“It offers that feeling of freedom and a way to get out after being holed up for so long,” says Drake, who founded rental company Colorado Overlander in Glenwood Springs two years ago. “For us, it was just a great way to escape to the desert after the ski season. My family loves it. And I couldn’t think of a better place to do it than Colorado.” Indeed, with the craziness of the coronavirus, many of us will be spending time


It’s today’s nearest equivalent of embarking on the Santa Fe or Oregon trail. Your wagon is your vehicle and the horses are under the hood. The hazards and goals might not equal those iconic migrations of the 1800s, but the sense of accomplishment and lessons learned do.” — Pat Drake, Colorado Overlander

closer to home this summer. But while we might be canceling trips to the Turks and Caicos, that doesn’t mean eating chips on the couch. As we begin spreading our wings again, exploring locally is more applicable — and sanity-saving — than ever, when and wherever regulations permit. And overlanding opens the car doors to a way of camping as perfect for families as it is for friends. “It’s today’s nearest equivalent of embarking on the Santa Fe or Oregon trail,” Drake says. “Your wagon is your vehicle and the horses are under the hood. The hazards and goals might not equal those iconic migrations of the 1800s, but the sense of accomplishment and lessons learned do.” According to, overlanding is defined as “self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal.” It’s most often accomplished by mechanized off-highway transport — including bicycles, trucks, campers and SUVs — where the principal form of lodging is camping. Lengths can vary from days to weeks, months and even years. The common denominator is that the journey itself is the purpose, with the roads being the means and the end. Without the stress of a goal, say as in climbing a mountain, overlanding lets you take in history, wildlife, culture, scenery and anything else that presents itself along

the way. Beyond the camping, you can hike, mountain bike, fish, photograph, paddle, bird watch and more, all whenever and wherever you want. And with souped-up vehicles suited to the task, (like the logs you might cross on creeks), it bridges the gap between RVs — which let you camp but restrict you to paved sites — and regular cars, which make camping a chore. To serve its growing devotees, in the past few years a veritable convoy of overlanding companies have cropped up making the pastime easier for weekend warriors. There are also websites, Facebook groups, blogs, chat rooms and more all dedicated to the craze, many with firstperson accounts, GPS coordinates and even gear reviews. Drake, who also runs river and bicycle outfitter Blue Sky Adventures out of

Glenwood Springs, started his overland company last summer after realizing its off-pavement potential. “More and more people are doing it as a quick and easy escape into the wilderness from their normal lives,” says Drake, who rents four 4x4 TRD Pro Toyotas fitted with rooftop tents, outdoor camping equipment and more. “We saw a huge opportunity.” While business slowed during the shutdown, he expects it to be rolling strong again soon. “I think there’ll be an uptick in bookings throughout the summer and fall,” he says. “We’re getting a lot of inquiries from people who want to get out, but stay closer to home.” Others, he adds, are experienced out-of-state overlanders who don’t want to drive their own rigs across the country; they’d rather fly out and rent. And a growing percentage is newbies, whom Drake particularly enjoys outfitting. “I love seeing first-timers’ reaction when they come back,” he says. “You can tell that their experience was rewarding and refreshing and that they’ll be back for more.” This interest has fueled several other overlanding startups as well. The husbandand-wife team of Eric and Camila Collier

LEARN MORE ONLINE Visit to learn more about where to take your off-roading adventure.

Hit the road and take a journey without the restrictions from traveling via car or RV. Overlanding is all out exploring the great outdoors. Photo courtesy of Colorado Overlander. COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JULY 2020


COVER STORY founded Overland Discovery in 2017 to also embrace the off-road rage. “We started it after a trip to Moab and realizing how incredible it was,” Eric says. “We wanted to share that to help other people experience adventure in their own backyard, regardless of the equipment or vehicle they owned.” Since then, the Colliers have branched out to offer all sorts of different vehicles, from smaller 4x4s to camper vans and compact RVs — all with the goal of easing the experience of exploring the outdoors. “We love the flexibility it offers,” Eric says. “It allows you to be spontaneous. Today’s pace of life is so fast and jam-packed with to-dos and checklists. Overlanding lets you break out of your day-to-day routine and explore without much planning — when

LEARN MORE ONLINE you have a vehicle and everything you need to camp, you can focus on the experience.” It also makes it easy to rally. With traditional camping, you have to pack, plan and make a checklist of everything you need. With overlanding, your vehicle is already equipped with everything from tent to stove. “All you have to do is decide where to go and what to do — the fun stuff,” he says. “On a Friday night after a long week of work, it’s easy to head somewhere over the weekend since your rig is all packed and ready to go.” All this has made it a burgeoning poster child of the camping market. Overland Journal, published five time per year, has 175,000 e-newsletter subscribers and more than 200,000 Instagram followers. And even though its fans are all looking to

Want to join the overland tribe? Visit to learn more about Colorado’s overlanding social communities.

get off the beaten path, they are also eager to share what they know with other likeminded overlanders — from vernacular like RTTs (roof top tents) and tire tread width to GPS coordinates of places they’ve explored. While its community is strong — and filled with tech nerds who love discussing their tricked-out rigs — overlanding appeals to novices. “There are definitely more beginners who want to get a taste of it,” Eric says. “There’s a whole new movement of people wanting to try it out.” Beyond the Dr. Seuss-like slogan “Oh the Places You’ll Go” overlanding evokes, it also imparts valuable life lessons. Unlike full-on off-roading, says Drake, where the goal is often to conquer the trail at all cost, overlanding gives you a respect for the vehicle and the trail. “So you become mindful of land protection, trail etiquette and initiatives like ‘leave no trace,’ he says. “And as well as conveying lessons about the environment, it also helps you become more self-sustained and self-reliant, and confidently face the unknown. And it ties you into a great community of like-minded people.” One such family epitomizing that community is Tennessee transplants and LifestyleOverland bloggers Kevin and Sarah McCuiston and their daughter Caroline. The couple fell in love with life on the road and in 2018 sold it all and struck out as full-time overlanders, piling

The overlanding experience is enjoyed by all lovers of the outdoors, young and old. Photo courtesy of Colorado Overlander.


With rigs packed and ready to go, it’s easy to head out for time off the beaten path. Photo courtesy of Colorado Overlander.

their gear into a tricked-out Toyota Trail Edition 4Runner dubbed The Beast and documenting their exploits for a growing fan base on YouTube. Hauling a 2018 Turtleback Trailer filled with gear behind them, their adventures have taken them from the Gulf Coast to the Arctic Coast and a bevy of bumpy roads in between. “Growing up on farms, we’ve always loved spending time outdoors,” Kevin says. “So it was natural to go from road trips, hiking, hunting and car camping to what we now know as overlanding. We were already living the pastime, we just didn’t know there was a word for it.” As with most other overlanders, the McCuistons are also big on “gearspeak,” their rig equipped with BFGoodrich KO2 tires, ICON Vehicle Dynamics suspension, Southern-Style Offroad bumpers, and a Gobi sport utility roof rack with a built-in tent. They’ve also helped pioneer a classic 800-mile overland route from New Mexico through Colorado dubbed the Enchanted Rockies Trail.

Outfitters like the Drakes and Colliers are hoping the overland craze continues to rub off on others also, even with COVID-19 curtailing Colorado travel. “Because of the nature of the product and the experience it offers, we’re certainly hoping it’s business as usual even with today’s circumstances,” Eric says. “With people having been stuck at home, we foresee a high demand — it’s the perfect remedy for cabin fever.”

Steamboat Springs resident and Yampa Valley Electric consumer-member Eugene Buchanan has written about the outdoors for more than 25 years.

LEARN MORE ONLINE Want to give overlanding a try? Start by renting some gear. Hop online at to get a list of Colorado outfitters from across the state.

Overlanding vehicles come in a variety of sizes and styles, offering flexibility to those ready to explore. Photo courtesy of Overland Discovery. COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JULY 2020



The Battle Behind Keeping the Lights On BY PAUL WESSLUND


id you know squirrels, lightning and trees have something in common? They can all knock out your electricity. Electric cooperatives across Colorado and the country work hard to keep your lights on all the time, but “you’re going to have power outages, and that’s just the way it is,” says Tony Thomas, senior principal engineer with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. An electric utility’s basic job of keeping the power flowing 24/7 calls for maintaining a complex network of power plants, poles and wires, but it also means battling the unpredictable. Thomas cites the top three troublemakers to electric reliability as trees falling on power lines and other interferences from vegetation, lightning strikes and animals going about their daily routines, especially squirrels chewing on electrical equipment. “Utilities do an awfully good job, but Mother Nature gets in the way sometimes,” Thomas says. However, humans contribute to power outages as well, with vandals deliberately damaging electrical equipment and drivers accidentally crashing into utility poles.



Electric cooperatives’ top priority of keeping power flowing 24/7 calls for maintaining a complex network of power plants, poles and wires. But it also requires preparing for the unpredictable. Electric co-ops are winning the reliability battles against the top three troublemakers: storms, trees and squirrels.

Statistics say the lights are almost always on Numbers collected from electric utilities show that power in the United States is incredibly reliable. According to these figures, the percentage of time that the average American has electricity at the flip of a switch is 99.97. Thomas says what’s most important to know about that number is that it doesn’t change much. “I don’t see big swings from year to year,” Thomas says. “If things are fairly consistent, that means the utility is operating about as efficiently as it can.” But utilities still try to improve on that reliability. Among the techniques being used to foil critter catastrophes are snake barriers around substations, buzzard shields on transmission towers and mesh coverings on wood poles to protect them from woodpeckers. For some of the other causes of outages like trees and lightning, there’s now an app for that. Utilities operate extensive right-of-way programs to keep vegetation away from power lines, from clearing underbrush to publicity campaigns asking people not to plant trees where they can fall on power lines. These days, those efforts can be

aided by digital software that forecasts the growth of trees and other plants so utilities can recognize when to prune branches before they cause a problem. Other software tries to manage lightning by analyzing the age and wear on the utility’s equipment that minimizes the damage from lightning strikes so it can be replaced before it fails. While Colorado’s electric co-ops fight storms and squirrels to keep the power on, by far the biggest part of reliability comes from the decades of building, maintaining and updating their part of the massive machinery of the nation’s electric grid. In Colorado, a variety of power plants generate electricity that is shipped through miles of high-voltage transmission lines. Banks of substations and transformers step-down that voltage to send it to homes and businesses through an estimated 100,000 miles of local distribution lines. Keeping that network up and running calls for a lot of planning among utilities to anticipate how electricity will be used in the future. Part of that reliability planning has focused on protecting the electricity system from computer-based digital attacks.

INDUSTRY The never-ending job of cybersecurity Bridgette Bourge is among those overseeing how digital technology affects reliability for electric co-ops and their consumer-members. As director of government affairs for NRECA, she sees both the positives and the negatives to the latest internet-based, or cyber, technology. “Cyber helps a lot on reliability because it gives us the ability to monitor and know everything right away,” she says. “But whenever you increase reliability through a technology, you do potentially open up vulnerabilities as well from the security angle.” For any organization, including electric utilities, the benefits of the internet come infested with mischief makers. Bourge says it’s routine for a company to receive tens of thousands of attempts each day to break into its computer network. Those “knocks” at the cyber door can come from individuals, countries and organizations, or from the army of automated “bots” roaming the internet worldwide, testing for weaknesses where a hacker could enter.

Electric cooperatives take cybersecurity very seriously. It’s built into their DNA.” —Bridgette Bourge, NRECA For a utility, a troublemaker inside the computer network could affect electric service, and that’s why local electric cooperatives work with their national organization, NRECA, to organize a variety of cyber reliability programs. Bourge says those cyber reliability programs aim to help protect against a range of threats, from broad attempts to shut down parts of the electric grid, to more focused efforts to corrupt pieces of software used by electric cooperatives. Working closely with the nation’s electric co-ops, NRECA shares the techniques for protecting utility systems from internet invaders. NRECA also works closely with federal government cybersecurity groups in the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

NRECA is also part of a national program to create a cyber mutual assistance agreement. Much like how groups of lineworkers from an electric co-op travel to help restore power after a hurricane, these cyber agreements would utilize teams of information technology experts in the case of a cyber incident. “You can’t solve cybersecurity,” Bourge says. “No matter what you do today, the bad guys are going to figure out a way around it tomorrow. You have to keep thinking about the next step. “Electric cooperatives take cybersecurity very seriously,” Bourge adds. “It’s built into their DNA.” Electric co-ops are well-placed to pay attention to cybersecurity. She says that as community-based, member-led businesses, electric co-ops have a unique interest in protecting the reliability of the local community’s energy supply. Co-ops are prepared to act quickly when lines are down and work hard to thwart cyberattacks as they battle to keep the lights on. Paul Wesslund writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

When it comes to electric reliability, the biggest challenge is maintaining and updating the massive machinery of the nation’s electric grid. More than 8,500 power plants generate electricity that is shipped through 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines.




BUSHES AS A BUFFER Plant a natural fence to screen unwanted views BY VICKI SPENCER



y victory garden is looking great. Not much to do now except occasional weeding and watering. I’ve already enjoyed lettuce, kale, spinach, cilantro, peas and beans. As I wait for the fall harvest I can’t avoid seeing an unsightly structure in my neighbor’s yard previously hidden by a juniper tree. The rusted metal shed would add character to my cottage garden if not for the window with faded blue curtains sticking out like a sore thumb. So I’ve decided to explore fast-growing bushes that will provide an adequate screen.

up so it wouldn’t take valuable space away from my flowers and it could be kept under control by cutting it back in the spring. It is hardy, drought resistant and doesn’t appeal to deer.

Japanese skimmia

Royal purple smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria)

For a more structured look along the back fence, I could plant royal purple smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria), which grows as high as 10 feet. Its brilliant purple-red spring foliage turns a plum color later in the season. As seeds develop, they are surrounded by a cloud of fine pink hairs that provide an interesting contrast to the dark foliage. Smoke tree stems grow straight



Another possibility is Japanese skimmia. It has unique evergreen foliage with a choice of fragrant white, pink or red blossoms. It is a slow-growing, mounded shrub that requires slightly acidic soil and consistent moisture. While less desirable than the royal purple smoke tree for my screen, Japanese skimmia would make a fitting foundation border plant. It requires minimal maintenance and tends to be generally disease free. By planting in groupings of two females coupled with a male it pollinates better and the flowers on the female plant are more brilliant. Euonymus is another attractive shrub. It can be evergreen or deciduous and comes in a wide range of colors and sizes. Euonymus

japonicus is a dense shrub with leathery leaves and small white flowers that can reach 15 feet. Euonymus fortunei varieties do well in Colorado. Even though best known as ground covers, sarcoxie euonymus can be trained to grow 8 to 12 feet as a vine. One of my favorite shrubs is butterfly bush. It is a sturdy shrub with purple flowers that bloom all season and attract pollinators. I also adore hydrangeas. While hydrangeas prefer morning sun, panicle hydrangeas are hardy. Firelight is a variety that blooms reliably, even in cold climates. Abundant white blooms gradually turn deep reddish pink for a full spectrum of color until fall. Although it only reaches 4 to 6 feet and would not hide my neighbor’s shed, the flowers would be an amazing distraction. As you can see, this exercise of considering the pros and cons of different bushes and whether they fit the moisture, light and soil requirements of a particular site is an important step in selecting a garden screen. In the end, I decided to plant royal purple smoke tree to hide my neighbor’s unsightly shed. Gardener Vicki Spencer has an eclectic background in conservation, water, natural resources and more.

LEARN MORE ONLINE Read previous gardening columns at Click on Gardening under Living in Colorado.


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Birdwatching for fun unveils obvious discovery BY DENNIS SMITH



ost of my friends know I’ve never really thought of myself as a birdwatcher — at least not in the classic sense of the word. I don’t keep a life list or chase off cross-country to view a rare species or anything like that. But the truth is I really do get a kick out of watching our feathered friends — all of them: waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors and even the assortment of common backyard songbirds I see every day like robins, sparrows, finches, chickadees, blue jays and so on. And, I have to confess, I can get pretty excited when something like a western tanager, Bullock’s oriole or some other strikingly-colored bird shows up in the yard. My wife and I have a thing for hummingbirds

and I’ve always been impressed by the exotic plumage of wild ducks and game birds. I suppose some of that comes from tying flies with their feathers. Several years ago — for no particular reason or maybe out of idle curiosity — whenever a new or unusual bird showed up in the yard, I would jot down the date of its appearance beside its picture in the little bird identification booklet we keep by the picture window. A few years later, my notes made it clear that certain species would magically appear at about the same time every year. They’d hang around for a week or two and then mysteriously disappear. At first, I thought maybe they’d found a neighbor’s yard they liked better or that they’d grown bored with the seed I put out, but it finally dawned on me I was simply watching a seasonal migration pass through. I’d been well aware of our deer, elk and waterfowl migrations for years, but for some reason the notion that songbirds migrated escaped me. After all, the vast majority of sparrows, finches, robins and jays were year-round residents, weren’t

Western tanagers pass through north central Colorado every year around mid-May.

they? I guess I assumed the tanagers, orioles, buntings and such should be, too. Duh. Talk about naïve. Anyway, now I know that western tanagers, Bullock’s orioles and lazuli buntings all show up in my neck of the woods around the 15th of May, give or take a few days, and stay for about a week to 10 days before leaving. Which raises some questions: Do these three species travel together? Where do they come from? Where are they going and why? I’m looking into that, but for now I’m happy to know they’re passing through right on schedule and I can probably count on seeing them again next year. I’m starting to think that maybe I’m a birdwatcher after all. Dennis Smith is a freelance outdoors writer and photographer whose work appears nationally. He lives in Loveland.

MISS AN ISSUE? Catch up at Click on Outdoors.


Rocky Mountain Hike Resting On a granite slab left by a retreating glacier At the shallow edge of an alpine lake. Scents of spruce and fir mingle in my mind With the harsh complaint of a Steller’s jay. Heartbeat slowing as my eyes adjust through polarized lenses. Looking Mid-depth into the placid turquoise water, Hanging languid a cutthroat trout. Only the pulsing gill covers attest to its liquid life. Iridescent flanks of colors seen in ring-necked pheasant cocks Or dreamed by forest sprites, Shimmering sunlight captured on the fish-skin canvas.

CREATIVE CORNER DO YOU WRITE POETRY? Send us your best work; we’d love to read it. Submission: Submit your poetry via email to: or by mail to: Colorado Country Life magazine 5400 Washington Street Denver, CO 80216

Pondering A younger man’s trophy desire Evolving into a mature meeting of fellow creatures, Allowing each other the silent grace of this encounter. Immediacy races to permanent experience, Memory eclipsing life. Realizing The sacred truth of this now, A sacrament to be shared, not hoarded. Love lived, incarnate. Trout, human, being.

Poem by William R. Morris of Dolores, a consumer-member of Empire Electric Association.


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At-Home Learning Throughout Summer Tips for keeping students sharp over the long haul


ith the majority of schools across the country closed, many parents are feeling the stress of taking more active roles in their children’s education. As time away from the classroom extends into summer, parents also face the challenge of helping their children maintain what they’ve learned through a summer of uncertainty. This year’s shift to at-home learning has provided plenty of resources parents can use to keep their children’s minds engaged and actively learning. The shift has also prompted families to create new routines and healthy learning habits. Continuing these best practices over the summer may prove beneficial in setting students up for success when they return to the classroom. • Set a clear daily schedule with realistic goals and be sure to allow flexibility. A child’s attention span grows longer with age — typically 2 to 3 minutes per year of age — so the amount of time an elementary school student will focus on a task may be significantly shorter than a high school student. • Build in time for kids to play. According to the journal Pediatrics, playing promotes healthy brain development and boosts academic skills. Playtime also helps children manage stress, making it an important and fun way for parents to support kids coping with stress or anxiety. • Create a conducive learning environment at home. If possible, set up a designated desk and distraction-free work space children can use for everything from completing school assignments to playing educational games. While routines are important, they may not be the only key to summer learning success. Research from Harvard indicates parents who engage with their children in simple activities over the summer

— like reading together or talking about baseball statistics — can have a greater impact on their children’s academic performance than popular summer activities, such as summer camps, travel or summer school. Since education can happen anywhere as part of everyday life, there are many activities families can do together to create a sense of summertime fun while fostering academic growth. • Spend some time cooking or baking together. Use these experiences as opportunities to practice reading recipes or practice math by measuring and adding ingredients. • Work with other parents or family members to find summer pen pals. Have kids write letters back and forth to practice reading and writing skills. • Extend story time with read-and-do activities that lay the groundwork for developing engaged readers. For example, the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! program offers free online activities at that children and parents can do together, such as drawing, letter recognition or sightword bingo. • Explore science and nature by taking a walk. Try to identify different types of clouds, trees, plants, rocks and animals. Take pictures of any you find interesting and then look up additional information when you return home to practice research skills. • Watch the news or read about current events together. This can provide practical lessons on social studies and help kids raise questions about the world around them.

Check out our list of VIRTUAL SANITY SAVERS! Since some Community Events are being canceled or rescheduled due to COVID-19, Colorado Country Life went on an online scavenger hunt to find ways to be entertained while social distancing. To see the most up-to-date calendar of events, visit coloradocountrylife. coop/community-events/.





FUNNY STORIES While standing in the kitchen one

morning, I was holding my wife when our 4-year-old son came into the room and locked his arms around my legs. I looked down and saw him staring intently up at me. I began to think he was admiring me, his father, and thinking about what a great guy I am. So I had to ask him, “Son, what are you thinking?” He said, “You have something in your nose.” Larry Kingrey, Craig

While homeschooling my firstgrade grandson, I asked him to name the months of the year. He said, “January, February, March, May …” “Whoa!” I said. “What happened to April?” He replied, “It got canceled.” Carolyn Rumsey, Pueblo West

Flying high! La Plata Electric consumer-member and pilot Kristine Rubish takes her mom, Betty Clouse (pictured), and Colorado Country Life on a flight over the beautiful San Juan Mountain range.

CCL enjoys high tea with Jackie Camp at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Colombia. Jackie is a consumer-member of Yampa Valley Electric Association and lives in Craig.

My little nephew was riding in

The Sebastian family from Colorado Springs brings CCL to Jerusalem. Stephanie, Nathan, Ann and Terrill are consumer-members of Mountain View Electric Association.

Empire Electric Association consumer-members Tim Kearns and Siste O’Malia pose with CCL in front of Wat Phra Phai in Sukhothai National Park, Thailand.

My husband recently had a birth-

day. He received a birthday card from his parents with a clue as to what his present was going to be. The message read, “Your present won’t fit in your card and it’s too messy to wrap. Guess what it is!” My 5-year-old piped up and said, “I think it’s my room!” Megan Geiger, Fruita

Mother’s car. They always had great discussions on various subjects. On this day, the discussion turned to a school where Mother had taught English before retiring. When Mother told him that the name of the school was “Catland” Primary School (translated from Finnish), my nephew asked, “Did the cats learn English?” Mari McDavid, Tabernash

WINNER: Amber Bohannan, Monument, takes a break from paddleboarding at Bristlecone Lake on a beautiful day to enjoy Colorado Country Life. Amber is a consumer-member of Mountain View Electric Association.

Take Your Photo with Your Magazine and Win! It’s easy to win with Colorado Country Life. Simply take a photo of someone (or a selfie!) with the magazine and email the photo and your name and address to info@ We’ll draw one photo to win $25 each month. The next deadline is Wednesday, July 15. Name, address and co-op must accompany photo. See all of the submitted photos on Facebook at

SHARE WITH US YOUR FUNNY STORY We pay $15 to each person who submits a funny story that’s printed in the magazine. At the end of the year we will draw one name from those submitting funny stories and that person will receive $200. Send your 2020 stories to Colorado Country Life, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 or email funnystories@ Don’t forget to include your mailing address, so we can send you a check.




A Delicious Treat Fabulous local desserts

Scoops of Joy

Bus(tling) Around Town

A Twist on Tasty

If you’re in Durango, visit one of Cream Bean Berry Artisan Ice Cream’s two locations to get your ice cream fix. From scoops to floats, milkshakes and ice cream sandwiches, CBB serves delectable homemade sweets using local ingredients when possible. We suggest CBB’s reusable growlers. Simply purchase a growler with ice cream, take it home and then come back to the shop and only pay to refill it. Gluten or dairy allergy? CBB has you covered. For more information, call 970-903-1300 or visit

For more than 30 years, Josh & John’s has created joyousness with homemade, slow-churned ice cream. The ice cream shop has three Colorado Springs locations and on May 30 opened a new location at Jessup Farm in Fort Collins. But that’s not all — the popular shop has a wonderful, completely renovated, solar-powered (when parked) purple 1978 Volkswagen “Scoop Bus” that cruises around Colorado and can be reserved for private parties. Get the scoop at

The team at Winter Park’s Rollin’ Street Bakery rolls their Czech-inspired dough into lip-smacking treats to delight their customers. Their chimney cones, in particular, aren’t your typical ice cream cones — they are tubular in shape and rolled in sweetness. Simply choose your chimney cone; add a spread, ice cream and topping; and indulge. And with a slew of savory treats on the menu as well, families with diverse tastes are all covered. For more information, visit

More Colorado Ice Cream Shops We Recommend 6 4




2 1


1 Blue Mountain Creamery • Colorado Springs (Only offering to-go during COVID restrictions.) Take your ice cream or gelato to-go and enjoy your treat in the comfort of your home • 719-599-9800 • 2 Colorado City Creamery • Colorado Springs Try the Pikes Peak Trail ice cream, a customer favorite • 719-634-1411 • 3 Glacier Ice Cream • Boulder Glacier’s shops carry up to 80 varieties at a time. One of the most popular is Funky Donkey: peanut butter ice cream with Oreos and fudge mixed in • 303-440-6542 • 303-499-4760 •

4 Momas Artisanal Ice Cream and More • Rifle Excite your taste buds with one of the many rolled ice cream flavors • 970-665-9493 • 5 Rizuto’s Ice Cream & Sweet Shop • Colorado Springs Rent the Rizuto Ice Cream Truck for your next event and let the staff serve your guests their homemade treats • 719-596-7191 • 6 Walrus Ice Cream • Fort Collins Take your dog out on Sundays for Scoop Doggie Dog Day and get a pup-friendly ice cream for him to enjoy • 970-482-5919 •

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